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Algorithms From Around the World

February 6, 2021 | Elizabeth Rachuri

If you walked past the fifth grade classroom last week, you would have heard many things:

  • Excited chatter
  • Youtube videos
  • Insightful questions
  • Diligent typing 

What are students working on?  They are researching multiplication algorithms from around the world.

Students just completed a study on the US algorithms for multiplication and division.  They created video and slideshow manuals outlining the steps to these procedures that they shared with fourth graders.  

Now they are expanding their understanding of multiplication by seeing how people around the world solve similar math problems in different ways. 

For this math project, students are connecting and synthesizing what they already know about how multiplication works with new insights.  They are finding the similarities between the algorithm they know and one they are seeing for the first time, so they can begin to make sense of it.

They are asking questions like, “How can that possibly work?!”   They are seeking help from one another and offering explanations of the pieces they have figured out already.  

And some are even trying to invent a new and more efficient algorithm for multiplication!

This Algorithms From Around the World math project is building critical thinking skills in these fifth graders as they research the unknown.  They are collaborating and asking important questions.  And they are getting excited about math!

Elizabeth Rachuri

Teacher, Grade 5

Elizabeth Rachuri has always wanted to be a teacher. She began her career as a five-year-old girl creating and grading tests for her friends. She refined her skills in college as she studied, among other things, how to help struggling readers. Mrs. Rachuri spent a semester in Guanajuato, Mexico, studying Spanish and eating pan dulce. After college, she traveled to Puerto Rico to teach at the Christian School and Chapel for the Deaf. There, she learned American Sign Language and how to kill poisonous centipedes.

Finally, Mrs. Rachuri arrived at Mustard Seed School. Since that time, she has been teaching in the middle school. Her favorite part about teaching at Mustard Seed is leading worship. She loves to tell stories and get people to think deeply about God.

When she’s not teaching, traveling, or learning new languages, Mrs. Rachuri loves to draw portraits, sew, and (believe it or not) clean her house. But her new favorite pastime is singing and dancing with her daughter!

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